Packing Meat in Rough Terrain

Packing Meat Out While Side Hilling Occasionally you will have to side hill through brush in steep terrain to reach the crest of a hogback. Sometimes the hog back is so steep you must zig zag. Side hilling with no trail is very hard on horses while packing. Especially, if it is brushy. Some horses don't handle side hilling very well especially if brush is poking them in their stomach and genitals. One time, Buddy (the grulla), one of the better pack horses I have ever had, reared up because of the brush poking him in the stomach. When he reared up his front legs hit my friend Rick in the back knocking him forward. Everyone survived this adventure side hilling up a huge, steep, brushy hogback.

Packing out antlers on pack animals is probably the most dangerous event in packing. Insure elk antlers are secured tightly in such a manner that the tips can’t touch the horse. The most experienced pack horses will start bucking when gored with antler tips regardless if you are on a narrow dangerous trail. I rolled an exceptional pack horse, “Old Red” in 1984 that started bucking on a narrow trail when we were side hilling to get to a ridge line. The horse rolled and got its head under what I call Octopus brush and couldn’t get up. When Old Red got his head caught under the octopus brush, I asked my hunting partner, Dr. John, (who grew up in Chicago) to give me a knife since I didn't have my hunting belt with my knife on it. John replied "are you going to kill Old Red?" My response, "No, I just want to cut off the 6 point rack to avoid possible injury to Red." We cut off the antlers and I sat on Old Red’s neck and proceeded to saw the 4 inch diameter branch. I covered Red's head with my shirt. I was lucky the horse, my 6 point rack and pack saddle all survived. Old Red was quite a horse and he lived to pack another day and night. To be continued.

Old Red and another adventure. When we arrived at the ridge line we were met by best friend, Bruce ,who was also my father in law. I, Bruce and Doc John and Old Red started going up the steep mountain. We went about 200 yards and Old Red started bucking and didn't quit until all the elk meat was on the ground. It had gotten dark but we were on semi open ridge line. So, we reloaded Old Red and off we went again. About 100 yards up the ridge, Old Red started bucking again, his shoes hitting the rocky area hard causing sparks to fly, a real light show in the middle of the wilderness! Again , Old Red didn't stop bucking until all the meat was on the ground. Being the mentally challenged person I am, I finally figured out what the problem was. When Bruce rented Old Red and the pack saddle, the breast collar was missing. We decided we had had enough fun and excitement for the day. We put the meat against logs for air circulation and we walked up the steep ridge to camp. The next day I made a breast collar out of belts and had no problem packing out the elk. Although we had some problems packing out the elk, we all survived, including Old Red. It was one of most memorable times in my life. Being with Bruce and Doc John, my two closest friends during this misadventure is a time I will treasure the rest of my life.

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